(Richard DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Orange County School of the Arts

Opinion: Perfecting the art of inclusion

Art is for everyone … except conservatives, it seems. 

Especially evident in the political polarization of our time, there appears to be little room for conservatives in the realm of the arts and entertainment industries. According to the Daily Mail, 8 out of 10 people in arts say they stay silent about supporting conservative ideas. 

With the new Oscar guidelines demanding ethnic diversity in casting and employment, Hollywood is championing itself to be a place of inclusion. However, it seems to be more focused on the diversity of skin color rather than deeper aspects of diversity like faith or beliefs, though the latter should be more important.

While I understand the significance of seeing people who represent the societal makeup in the media, the superficial can only take us so far. True inclusion encompasses all aspects of diversity.

A prime example of conservative intolerance in the art and entertainment industries is the recent attack on well-known actor Chris Pratt, known for his role in The Guardians of the Galaxy. On Oct. 17, producer Amy Berg posted a photo of Chris Evans, Liam Hemsworth, Chris Pine and Pratt with the caption: “one has to go,” according to Vox

Out of the four choices, Pratt was the first to be voted out by fans, in a contentious elimination. His decision to not attend a Biden fundraiser with his fellow Avengers raised eyebrows among fans, according to Vox, and as a result, caused followers to question and dig into his private life.

In the comments, Twitter users ridiculed Pratt for belonging to a traditional evangelical church. Although Pratt has claimed no official support of any candidate in the upcoming 2020 election, the Twitter “mob” was at the ready to peg him specifically a Trump supporter, going as far as to label him a “homophobic, white Christian supremacist.”

Instead of being eliminated in this questionable “game” for the merit of his performances, or the likability of the characters he plays, Pratt was condemned for his seeming conservatism due to his religious affiliation. Were the other Chrises left unscathed, it appears, because they fall in line with the Hollywood agenda? 

This behavior is questionable at the least.

As the arts are reflecting, the American culture needs to tolerate not only our differences in appearance but our differences in beliefs. Both liberals and conservatives, religious and non-religious, should be allowed to enjoy and participate in the beauty of the arts and entertainment industries regardless as this does us all a disservice, especially in the field of the arts. 

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary: the arts are “painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, etc., considered as a group of activities done by people with skill and imagination.” 

For the past six years, I have attended an arts school with a student body that has a strong left-leaning bias. Proclaiming support for President Trump, the Pro-Life movement or any other conservative ideology immediately results in being called a Nazi or racist, similar to the case of Chris Pratt. 

Having a liberal, left-leaning bias or view of the world is not a prerequisite to being a great artist. Only great skill and imagination are needed. These attributes can come from anyone, even a conservative.

Art is supposed to offer an escape, be a source of beauty or even simply, an expressive form of exercise in the case of dance. Creating an unwelcoming environment where conservatives are repudiated and perceived as evil extremists is not what art is.

If we want a robust, truthful and complete representation of the world around us, we must include opposing viewpoints, so the arts can flourish. Art should not become undermined by politicization, lest it becomes diminished.

Art is supposed to push boundaries, not create them.